Reading Football Club is an association football club, based in the English town of Reading, in Berkshire. They currently play in the FA Premier League. When Reading gained promotion to the Premier League, on 25 March 2006, they achieved promotion to the top flight earlier in the season than any other post-war side. It was also the first time Reading had reached the top division in their history.
They are nicknamed the Royals, due to Reading's location in the Royal County of Berkshire. Reading's mascot is a lion called Kingsley Royal.
Reading were formed in 1871. They were originally nicknamed the Biscuitmen after one of the main trades in the town, Huntley & Palmers biscuits, but changed to the Royals in the 1970s. The club played at Reading Recreation Ground until 1878, before moving on to Reading Cricket Ground (1878-1882), Coley Park (1882-1889) and Caversham Cricket Ground (1889-1896). The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a bigger ground and, to this end, the club moved again, to the purpose built Elm Park on 5 September 1896.
In 1913 Reading toured Italy and beat Pro Vercelli, the Italian champions, AC Milan (5-0) and then the full Italian national team. The leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera wrote "without doubt, Reading FC are the finest foreign team seen in Italy." 
Reading were elected to the Third Division of the Football League in 1920, and have spent the majority of the time since then in the third tier of the league, with occasional flirtations with the second and fourth tiers. In season 1994-95, Reading's play-off defeat against Bolton Wanderers made them the only side to finish second in the First/Second Division and not receive promotion to the top level. This was due to the Premier League reducing its number of teams from 22 to 20.
Reading's best performance in the FA Cup came in 1926-27 when they lost to eventual winners Cardiff City in the semi-final. The side's moment of cup glory came in 1988 when they won the Simod Cup, beating a number of top flight sides en-route to their Wembley win over Luton Town.
Reading were promoted to the Second Division as champions in 1986 under the management of Ian Branfoot, but were relegated back to the Third Division in 1988. Branfoot left in October 1989, having failed to get the Royals back into the Second Division. His successor, Ian Porterfield, lasted just 18 months before further failures cost him his job.
The appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager in June 1991 saw Reading move forward. They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994 and, when McGhee moved to Leicester City halfway through the following season, Reading still appeared in with a chance of a second straight promotion. 35-year-old striker Jimmy Quinn was put in charge of the first team alongside midfielder Mick Gooding and guided Reading to runners-up in the final Division One table - only to be denied automatic promotion because of the streamlining of the Premiership. Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the playoff semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premiership after building up a 2-0 lead over Bolton Wanderers by half time in the final. Two late goals from Bolton forced extra time and the match ended 4-3 to Bolton. Quinn and Gooding's contracts were not renewed two years later after Reading had slid into the bottom half of Division One.
Their successor, Terry Bullivant, lasted less than one season before being sacked in March 1998. The Royals finished that season bottom of Division One and slipped into Division Two. Former Celtic boss, Tommy Burns lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Alan Pardew who had previously been reserve team manager before being released.
1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200-seat Madejski Stadium - named after chairman John Madejski - in the Smallmead area of the town.
Reading made it back to Division One in 2002 after finishing runners-up in Division Two. Good form the following season saw them finish fourth in Division One and qualify for the playoffs. Their promotion hopes were ended by a defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semi-finals, Reading's third unsuccessful attempt to gain promotion via play-offs. Pardew moved to West Ham United the following October and was replaced at Reading by Brighton & Hove Albion's Steve Coppell.
In 2004-05, Reading finished seventh in the Football League Championship and just missed out in the playoffs.
Reading in The Premiership
On 25 March 2006, Reading won promotion to the Premiership for the first time in their history. A draw at Leicester, coupled with Watford's defeat against Millwall, and Leeds United only drawing with Stoke City, secured Reading one of the top two automatic promotion places in the Championship. MPs congratulated Reading's successful season with two early day motions shortly after Reading finally secured promotion. The following week, they celebrated winning the Championship after defeating Derby County 5-0, while Stoke City held Sheffield United 1-1. This sparked a pitch invasion and the players celebrated in front of the fans from the safety of the directors' box.
Reading hold the English league record for the longest winning sequence at the start of a season with 13 victories in succession at the beginning of season 1985-86.
In 1979, Reading goalkeeper Steve Death went 1103 minutes without conceding a goal, also an English league record.
They also hold the embarrassing honour of having experienced more FA Cup defeats than any other team. This is due to Reading and Notts County being the first of the football clubs that exist today to enter the competition, in 1877-78. Both clubs have lost one cup tie per season since, apart from in 1894 when Notts County won the cup. Also in the 1893/94 FA Cup, Reading lost 18-0 to Preston North End, at least partly because the Preston players used studs on their quagmire of a pitch.
During their successful 2005-06 Premiership promotion campaign, Reading broke another record when they went 33 matches unbeaten, the longest in the history of England's second tier, from 9 August 2005 until they lost to Luton Town on 17 February 2006. They have also broken Sunderland's record for most points in English football history in 2005-06, finishing with 106 points, breaking the previous record by a single point. Reading almost became the first team to finish a season with 100 goals and 100 points, but failed by one goal, scoring "only" 99 goals.
Notable former players
* Caretaker manager(s)
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